From the magical moment Marc-Andre Fleury went all rock-em-sock-em robot on Nicklas Lidstrom's rebound try to cap that triumphant summer's night in Detroit, the Penguins have been a franchise trying far too hard to get back to that Stanley Cup Final stage.
Think about it.
They had the top two talents in the game, and yet engulfed the group with a system so complex, so inflexible it would cause a teenage Scotty Bowman to think twice on the breakout.
They had the top two talents in the game, and yet they'd draft defensemen year after year rather than finding additional scoring depth. The objective was to trade those defense prospects for wingers down the road, as if a delay for some reason had to be worked into the equation.
They had the top two talents in the game, and yet never lifted so much as a CCM-coated pinky finger to protect them in recent seasons, in part because after the many Matt Cooke debacles they hoped to portray themselves in some broader angelic light.
It never should have been all that complicated, you know?